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I am a kiwi so I have worked a lot in a lot of different jobs in New Zealand. Over the past six months I have travelled a lot around New Zealand, mostly around the upper South Island, with a break in Taranaki over Christmas/New Years. When I first restarted my travels in the South Island in 2011, I was fortunate enough to already have a job lined up through a friend from Wellington. He owns a property near lake Ohau and was looking for a extra pair of hands to help clear the wilding pines that were becoming a real problem there. The assignment was for two weeks at the beginning of May. I had read about the wilding pines problem in the South Island, but nothing can prepare you for the scale of the problem. Literally, there were pines as far as the eye could see, and that was just on his one property. Luckily the pay was very good and we had help to tackle the infestation from both the Department of Conservation and Forest & Bird. It was not easy work but it was rewarding. Not only did I know I was working towards something of real value, protecting New Zealands natural heritage, but when you have been down pulling out, and cutting down, pines for hours, you stand up to stretch and all around you in an amazing vista. The lake was a intense blue and the hills caped with snow. On a clear day you could see the Southern Alps across the lake. It was truly stunning. There were plenty of recreational activities in the area. The Ohau Ski lodge was nearby (though ski season was not due to start until July), There was walking in the hills, as well as mountain biking tracks. Food and accommodation was provided as part of the arrangement, in a quaint little cottage nestled amongst douglas fur and NZ beech. When the assignment was over I was sore and tired. But my camera was full, I was proud to have achieved something and my bank account was a little healthier allowing me to focus on travel unhampered by financial concerns for a time.
The work is ongoing. They are due for another blitz this October, and I am sure that around then the property owner will be looking for students and travellers for another two weeks work.
Submitted by: Robert Garrett Date submitted: 17/07/2011 1:43:49 a.m.